A Perth couple have left their house, jobs and possessions behind to sail along the WA coast on a mission to preserve ocean and marine life.
Jamie Van Jones and her husband Base set off from Fremantle earlier this year, heading north on their sailboat “Charade” to conduct marine debris surveys and clean up on some of WA’s most remote beaches.
“We have seen first-hand the marine pollution on metro beaches, and even in the harbour where we keep our boat,” Ms Van Jones said.
“We wondered how much marine pollution was impacting the entire West Australian Coast.
“We have such a vast coastline and we wanted to document what we found as we sailed to more remote parts of the coast.
“There hasn’t been much recorded about marine debris and plastic pollution along the West Australian coast.”
The couple have shared their findings with marine researchers and organisations working to raise awareness and curb marine plastic pollution.
While they found some beaches and islands in pristine condition, others were littered with rubbish from Australia or Indonesia.
“When we have surveyed beaches that are closer to towns, we have seen an increase in pollution,” she said.
“We have also come across remote marine debris ‘hot spots’…where the tide and currents push plastics on the beaches.
“When we got to the remote Montebello islands, we found an isolated bay that was littered with plastic packaging that had ‘Made in Indonesia’ and ‘[Made in] Malaysia’ written on it.”
The couple, has also had to learn to live with less, cutting their personal belongings by 80 per cent and relying on their wits when things get hairy.
“When you’re sailing and something goes wrong, it’s up to you to get out of it,” Ms Van Jones said.
“You can’t just stop into a service station for help or to pick up extra supplies.
“We are connected to nature and the ocean all the time, and we love that we can be living so simply and lightly on our planet.
“Our plan is to get a net so that we can see how much plastic is found in the ocean along our coastline that is home to so much amazing marine life that could be eating it.”